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Distributed for Unicorn Publishing Group

Ali Cavanaugh

Modern Fresco Paintings

At the age of two, artist Ali Cavanaugh survived a bout of spinal meningitis, emerging relatively unscathed except for the near-total loss of her sense of hearing. What might have been a bitter sentence for a child turned out to be a lifelong blessing in disguise, instilling in Cavanaugh a singular sensitivity to the unspoken expressions that spark body language and the feelings that lie just beneath the mask of the human face.

Modern Fresco Paintings charts Cavanaugh’s boldest explorations yet into illustrating the interior space of thought. The more than one hundred fifty full-color images displayed here are the results of a unique process where multiple baths of watercolor are layered with synthetic brushes atop a wet clay surface and then sheathed in ultraviolet coating—an homage to the ancient art of fresco painting done with contemporary materials. The luminous portraits that emerge from these stacks of color penetrate through the visible layers to reveal the unseen truths behind their subjects’ external features and expressions.

208 pages | 150 color plates | 11 x 11 | © 2019

Art: Art--General Studies

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"A revelatory project."

Watercolor Artist

"These are lovely works, painted masterfully. Both long-time followers of Cavanaugh's work . . . and those who are discovering her and her art for the first time, will be delighted by this collection."

The Strand Bookstore

"The far-reaching effects of childhood illness and an unusual choice of paint surface bring extra vitality to this American artist's engaging portraits. . . . [Modern Fresco Paintings] is as dense and light and inviting and secretive as her paintings . . . . Whether crisp photorealism or the newer, freer portraits, her figurative paintings all boast a rare quality that makes her stand out."

Artists & Illustrators

"[Cavanaugh's] depictions of playfulness, innocence and joy are moving and contain no feigned naiveté or self-conscious effort to market herself to an audience weary of a topsy-turvy world."

Catholic Herald

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